The “Gut Puncher”

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{Devil’s Food Cupcake with Peanut Buttercream, Maple-Candied Bacon and Bourbon Syrup}

I brought these into work for our news director’s last day. By mid-afternoon, I heard someone call this the “gut puncher”. I don’t blame them. It’s the richest cupcake I’ve ever made. You eat one, and you feel like you want to eat salads for the rest of the week. Still, it’s quite a combination of the most enticing things out there – hopefully good enough that you won’t mind the richness punching you in the gut.

The cupcake base is my go-to for chocolate cupcakes. It’s the cinnamon-scented devil’s food cupcake recipe from Epicurious, though I took out the chocolate chips in this instance because it would have just competed with too many other things going on. I like this one because it’s a solid standard, and it doesn’t have any butt   er in it! It even uses coffee.

The peanut butter frosting comes from my Elvis recipe. Still tried and true.

Then the candied bacon and Bourbon reduction come from The Baker in the Rye. Try not to burn the house down when you do that bacon. Someone here may or may not have let the maple syrup/sugar/bacon juices drip onto the oven floor, nearly causing the fire alarm to go off.

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Yields 36 cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp milk, as needed
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar

For the bacon:

  • 8 slices of Bacon
  • 1 1/3 Cup dark brown sugar
  • 2/3 Cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the bourbon syrup:

  • 2 Cup Bourbon
  • 3 Tablespoon buter
  • 2 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 4 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

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Cupcake directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Lightly spray insides of paper molds with nonstick spray; arrange paper molds in cupcake tins.
  3. Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into large bowl.
  4. Combine sugar, coffee, buttermilk, oil, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in another large bowl.
  5. Using electric mixer, beat egg mixture until blended.
  6. Add dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally, about 4 minutes.
  7. Spoon batter into each paper mold. Bake cupcakes until puffed and center is just firm to touch, about 24 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to racks and cool completely.

Bacon directions (get the bacon in the oven and bourbon on stove while you work on icing):

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degreed Fahrenheit.
  2. Pour maple syrup in one bowl and in another bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Dip the bacon in the syrup so it is fully coated. Then rub the brown sugar mixture into the bacon until it is completely coated in the sugar.
  4. Do this for all pieces of bacon. Then, bake for 20-25 minutes until it is dark brown in color. If it is undercooked, it will not candy and become a hard salty treat.

Bourbon directions:

  1. In a small pan, bring bourbon to a rolling boil.
  2. Turn to low and add in maple syrup, butter, and dark brown sugar.
  3. Then cook covered for 30-40 minutes until it thickens up and reduces to about 2/3 cup. Let cool before topping the cupcakes.

Icing directions:

  1. Combine the butter and peanut butter into a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer.
  2. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar as you continue to beat
  3. When it becomes thick, add the milk one tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
  4. Frost the cupcakes!
  5. Break the candied bacon into pieces (do this on the baking sheet, not on a paper towel. It will stick.)
  6. Place them on top of each cupcake.
  7. Use a spoon to drizzle bourbon syrup on each cupcake.

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